Aromatherapy might just be one of the oldest forms of healing that uses the curative properties of plants. Though the term “aromatherapy” has only been used since the 1930’s, this natural form of healing has been around for a thousand years now.
According to historians, ancient Egyptians devised a way to extract essential oils from cedarwood, cinnamon, cloves and others through a distillation machine. In ancient Greece on the other hand, “father of medicine” Hippocrates have used essential oils for healing. While in China, aroma through incense has also been used for balance and harmony.
Today, there are many varieties of pure essential oils available to anyone looking for a natural way to heal, both physically and psychologically. The most popular essential oils at present include bergamot, clove, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, lemon, oregano, peppermint, rosemary and tea tree.
In the Philippines, there are locally produced essential oils that are exported and are highly valued all over the world including ylang-ylang, jasmine, elemi and calamansi.
So, how exactly do we use essential oils for therapy? There are various ways, depending on a user’s preference and purpose:
1. Aromatic Healing. The invigorating and uplifting effects of essential oils are usually harnessed by diffusing drops of a particular oil or a blend of oils in diffusers. However, one does not need a diffuser to take advantage of the the aromatic benefits of essential oils.
One way to take in the aroma of essential oils without using any special instrument is to apply a few drops of in one’s hands, cup the hands around the nose and inhale the aroma. One can also place few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and put it in the fan of an air conditioner or the vent system of a car. Some put a few drops of essential oil on an atomizer of distilled water and spritz the mist on the body, clothes and linen.
2. Topical Application Of Essential Oils. Essential oils easily penetrate the skin and can be used topically for various simple ailments. Because essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin, they are usually mixed with a carrier oil before being applied to the neck, forehead and temples, chest and abdomen, arms, legs, and bottoms of the feet.
The most common carrier oils are grapeseed oil, virgin coconut oil, and olive oil. Essential oils can also be mixed with plain soap, lotion, or even bath water for topical application.
3. Ingesting Essential Oils. Various essential oil companies suggest ingesting essential oils by incorporating them in various drinks or even in cooking. However, the safety of ingesting oils is still under debate and as with any new medication, one must seek the advice of a medical professional before attempting to do so.